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Frederick James Tonks

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Frederick James Tonks (c1881-1939), Chief Metallurgist and Technical Manager of High Speed Alloys

1881 Born in Wolverhampton[1], son of Harry Tonks, master butcher[2]



1939 Obituary [3]

Mr. F. J. Tonks, who died on April 6, 1939, was born in 1881 in, or near, Wolverhampton.

He left school at an early age and while working in offices, studied metallurgy in evening classes and obtained a scholarship through which he entered the Royal College of Science in 1902, and qualified for his diploma of A.R.C.S. in 1905. He was then engaged by Steinhart, Vogel, and Cloud as analytical chemist for their laboratory in the accumulator works of Pritchetts & Gold.

In 1907 he was to have accompanied Mr. Vogel as chemist, to a projected tungsten powder factory in Widnes and in the interval, while the works were being erected, he went to Cornwall and worked under H. W. Hutchin as an analyst and assistant. The erection of the factory in Widnes was, however, abandoned, and he left Mr. Hutchin to become chemist to the Dolcoath Mine, Ltd., and remained in this position until 1914.

On the outbreak of war, Mr. Vogel was commissioned to erect a tungsten metal powder factory by a group of Sheffield steel makers, and for this purpose a company - High Speed Alloys Ltd. - was formed and located in Widnes. Mr. Tonks was appointed chemist and continued to hold the position of Chief Metallurgist and Technical Manager until his death. During this time, in addition to tungsten metal powder, the Company took up the manufacture of various ferro-alloys such as ferro-vanadium, ferro-molybdenum, and other chemicals, and Mr. Tonks' work as Technical Manager extended to all the products of the factory.

Mr. Tonks was elected a member of the Institute of Metals in 1925.



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